Here in 2019, area high school basketball teams are wrapping up another season of competition. League playoffs and state tournaments are underway. Players, coaches and fans are all hoping to close out their experiences on a high note. With that in mind, it seems like a good time to take a closer look at some Sanford’s legendary basketball seasons from the past.
We start in 1952, the year Sanford Central’s brand new gym was opened. A number of outstanding teams and players took the floor over the years. In all likelihood, the first great team in the new building was the 1952 girls basketball team, which posted a record of 18 wins and 4 losses.
Among the first truly outstanding girls basketball teams in the area took the court a dozen years earlier. The 1940 girls dominated play, earned a league championship and posted an undefeated season, with a record of 17-0.
The early 1940’s were also an exceptional time for boys basketball in Sanford. The 1943 team pictured here won 19 games and lost 4, including the state championship game.
Two seasons later, the 1944-45 team returned to the state finals where they lost to Mineral Springs from near Winston-Salem. A year later the basketball team advanced to the eastern finals before falling to Greenville.
25 years ago, the county’s only public high school at the time enjoyed a blue ribbon season in basketball, both for boys and girls. Competing in the Raleigh-based Cap-7 Conference for the first time, both teams more than held their own. The 1993-94 boys tied for the conference championship and placed 3 seniors — Anthony Toomer, Tony McKay and Todd Gilmore on the all conference team. The girls honored their retiring coach Carolyn Fowler by notching a 16-3 record in her final coaching season. Tanisha Adams and Amy Todd were all conference selections.
Our final stop takes us to a successful girls’ team from 45 years ago … a time when the county still had FOUR high schools (Sanford Central, Broadway, Deep River and Greenwood). The 1974 Lady Hornets from Greenwood High under Coach Linda Temple won nearly 75% of their games and barely missed the district playoffs. Team captains were Rosalyn Raeford and Nancy Cooper.
Editorial content, pictures and research background , compliments of Jimmy Haire and Images of America: Sanford and Lee County, by Jimmy Haire & W.W. Seymour, Jr, available here for purchase. All book proceeds go to Sanford’s Railroad House Historical Association, Inc.